Instructors and Staff


Gaylean Smoak, R.N. , Instructor

Gaylen Smoak graduated from Radford University with a BS in Nursing in 1984. Her nursing career has taken her from a very small community hospital to university teaching and most recently to the US Air Force with a Forward Surgical Team deployment. Her experience is very broad – ICU,  MedSurg, Surgical and management. It is our good fortune that the latest chapter in her professional career is working for Career Nursing Academy as a Clinical Instructor


Sheila Mathis, R.N., C.N.M. started her career in healthcare in 1990 and has worked in various settings including long term care, home care, public health, nursing education and maternal child health as a Home Health Aide, LPN and RN. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson University with an MSN in 2000. She enjoys interacting with students and inspiring them to achieve their goals.


Nancy Fertig brings to the Career Nursing Academy years of experience as a Hospice Nurse. She began her nursing career as a nurse aide, progressed to licensed practical nurse, and continued her education to become a Registered Nurse. Her personal and professional development inspires students.


Mitzi Dabreo

Mitzi Dabreo is an Instructional Assistant who monitors skills and classroom activities. She has more than 10 years of experience as a Personal Care Aide and more than 6 years experience as a Certified Nurse Aide. She has worked in Long Term Care facilities, Assisted Living Facilities and in Home Health.



Mary Keyes, C.N.A.Mary Keyes is the Executive Assistant of the Career Nursing Academy and a graduate of the CNA program. She came to the Academy with more than 20 years of Day Care experience and over 8 year of providing care as a Personal Care Aide. Her cheerful attitude and helpful nature adds sunshine and joy to the academy. And her expertise and experience is invaluable to the students she has mentored.



Pauline Estrada, C.N.A. is a lab assistant. She comes to us after more than 10 years of experience as a tech in a vein surgical center. Pauline is a graduate of the Career Nursing Academy and has extensive experience as a hospice C.N.A.